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The Platinum Card® from American Express Review [2024]: A Worthwhile Splurge for Luxury Travel Perks

The Platinum Card's premium benefits and credits position it as one of the best travel cards despite its hefty price tag.

Updated July 2, 2024
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The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express
5.0

OUR VIEW

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel rewards card that offers an impressive array of valuable perks and benefits for frequent travelers. With a generous welcome offer, hundreds of dollars in annual credits (select benefits require enrollment), and access to exclusive travel experiences, the Amex Platinum is a top choice for luxury travelers.

I've had this card for about a year now, and I can say the value it provides has far outweighed its $695 annual fee (terms apply). By taking advantage of the card's benefits, my travels have been more comfortable, rewarding, and filled with VIP experiences.

Pros

Enjoy hundreds of dollars in annual credits (enrollment required for select benefits)
Gain access to exclusive airport lounges worldwide (enrollment required)
Elevate your hotel stays with elite status perks (enrollment required)
Earn valuable Membership Rewards points on flights and hotels
Protect your trips with top-notch travel insurance

Cons

Comes with a hefty $695 annual fee
Charges $175 for each authorized user
Some credits are challenging to use
How we evaluate products

Card basics

Card type Travel
Card issuer American Express
Annual fee $695. Terms apply.
Welcome offer Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new card in the first 6 months
Reward rate 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None

Who should get The Platinum Card® from American Express?

Those who want the ultimate luxury travel experience will benefit most from the Amex Platinum. Sure, you can earn points toward travel, but that's not the only thing that makes this rewards card so prestigious.

What you get on top of earning points is upgraded access and lucrative credits. Instead of it just being about award travel, cardholders can gain access to upscale travel experiences that might be out of reach for non-cardholders.

For instance, you could skip the standard hotel room and instead unlock upgrades at over 2,200 luxury hotels through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. Or, you could make the airport less of a hassle by ducking into an exclusive Centurion Lounge to relax and fill up on complimentary food and drinks. Keep in mind that some benefits do require enrollment.

The point being — if you can take advantage of enough Amex Platinum benefits beyond earning points, you could easily offset the $695 annual fee.

Who should skip?

While the Amex Platinum offers a ton of value for frequent travelers, its high annual fee and travel-focused benefits may not be the best fit for everyone.

If you don't travel often enough to make use of perks like lounge access and hotel elite status, or if you can't take full advantage of the annual credits, the $695 price tag may be hard to justify. In that case, a card with a lower annual fee like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card with its $395 annual fee and amazing travel benefits could be a great fit for your needs.

What you should know before applying

The Amex Platinum has over $1,500 in annual credits — if you use them. That’s why one of the key factors in determining if the Amex Platinum is worth the $695 annual fee is whether you can take advantage of its numerous annual credits.

While the credits can provide a ton of value, they're only useful if they align with your spending habits and lifestyle. Here's a breakdown of the main credits:

Credit Annual amount Description
Airline fee credit $200 Incidental fees on your selected airline, enrollment required
Hotel credit $200 Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings which requires a minimum two-night stay
Digital entertainment credit $240 Eligible purchases at select streaming services, enrollment required
Uber Cash $200 Uber rides or eats orders in the US, enrollment required
Equinox credit $300 Eligible Equinox memberships or app subscriptions, enrollment required
CLEAR+ credit $189 CLEAR+ membership fee, enrollment required
Saks credit $100 Purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue, enrollment required
Walmart+ credit $155 Walmart+ membership or renewal, enrollment required
Total $1,584

When you add up all these credits, they total over $1,500 in value. But this isn’t all. The Amex Platinum also provides you with extensive lounge access, Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years, and more (select benefits require enrollment). If you can take advantage of most of these benefits, the Amex Platinum's hefty annual fee becomes much easier to swallow.

Here's a closer look at this card's top benefits

A generous welcome offer

The Amex Platinum enables you to earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new card in the first 6 months.

That's enough points to cover more than one round-trip flight or a luxurious hotel stay. I remember when I first got the card, I used the welcome offer to book a three-night hotel stay in downtown Seattle. It was an incredible experience that I wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise.

High rewards rates on flights and hotels

One of the great features of the Amex Platinum is its impressive rewards rates. You'll earn 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

If you frequently book flights and hotels, these bonus categories can really accelerate your point earnings. Since I qualified for this card, I have earned over 20,000 points just from my travel bookings. If I assume a value of one cent per point, I’d value these points at $200. However, oftentimes I earn even higher value for my points through Amex transfer partners.

$200 annual airline fee credit

Each calendar year, you can receive up to $200 back in statement credits for incidental fees (enrollment required), such as checked bags and in-flight refreshments, charged by the airline you select. While it doesn't cover airfare, this credit can still save you money on costs like checked bags, seat assignments, and more.

I always select my favorite airline for this credit and use it to cover the cost of checked bags, in-flight internet, and more. It's a great way to save on those pesky airline fees.

$200 annual hotel credit

When you pay with your Amex Platinum, you can get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which require a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel.

I love using this credit to book a weekend getaway at a luxurious hotel. The Hotel Collection properties often offer a room upgrade, hotel credit, and other perks that make the stay feel extra special. Last year, I used it for a stay at a stunning resort in Maldives and got a $100 spa credit on top of the $200 I saved on the booking.

$200 annual Uber Cash

Each month, you'll receive $15 in Uber Cash for rides or Uber Eats orders in the U.S., plus a bonus of $20 in December. That's up to $200 in annual Uber savings. Just make sure to add your Amex Platinum to your Uber account to start receiving this benefit. Enrollment required.

This is probably one of my favorite credits, especially for Uber Eats. I use it to treat myself to a nice meal from a local restaurant about once a month. It feels great to order a $30 meal and only pay $15 out of pocket.

$240 annual digital entertainment credit

You can receive up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Amex Platinum on one or more of the following (enrollment required):

  • Hulu
  • Disney+
  • The Disney Bundle
  • ESPN+
  • Peacock
  • The New York Times
  • The Wall Street Journal

As a big fan of streaming shows and movies, this credit is hugely valuable to me. I use it to help cover my monthly Hulu and Disney+ subscriptions, which saves me nearly $240 a year.

Access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection

The Amex Platinum grants you access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes over 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting. This includes the luxurious Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta), Priority Pass lounges, and more. Enrollment may be required.

I can't stress enough how much this improves the airport experience, especially during long layovers or delays. The Centurion Lounges, in particular, are a real treat, with curated menus, premium cocktails, and even spa services in some locations. I once spent a three-hour delay at the Hong Kong Centurion Lounge and it felt more like a mini-vacation than an inconvenience.

Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors

With the Amex Platinum, you can receive complimentary Gold Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Gold status Hilton Honors. This can offer benefits like room upgrades, late checkout, and more. Enrollment required.

Having this status has improved my hotel stay experience. Almost every time I asked for an upgrade, I was offered a better room. I also often receive late checkout. The free breakfast that comes with Hilton Gold status can also save a lot of money on longer stays.

Walmart+ membership credit

When paying with the Amex Platinum, you can earn up to $155 in statement credits annually for your monthly Walmart+ membership. This membership offers free shipping, free delivery from your local store, member prices on fuel, and more. Enrollment is required.

As someone who frequently shops online, the free shipping benefit of Walmart+ simplifies ordering household items like shampoo, cleaning supplies, and more. This benefit makes it easy to get my needs delivered when I'm too busy to go to the store. It's a valuable membership to have, especially when the Amex Platinum essentially pays for it.

CLEAR+ and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits

The Amex Platinum offers two valuable credits that can help you navigate airport security more efficiently. First, you can earn up to $189 in annual statement credits for CLEAR+ membership, which uses biometrics to help you skip the long security lines at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. Enrollment required.

Second, the Amex Platinum will reimburse you when you charge the application fee for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck five-year plan (up to $85) to your card, a benefit that's available once every four years for Global Entry or once every four and a half years for TSA PreCheck. I used this credit for Global Entry, which includes TSA PreCheck, and it has made international travel so much smoother. Even if you only travel internationally occasionally, this benefit can save you significant time and hassle.

Saks Fifth Avenue and Equinox credits

Using your Amex Platinum card, you can earn credits of up to $100 annually, split into two $50 credits, for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com. Enrollment required. While I like the idea of this credit, I find it difficult to use since only a few items at Saks Fifth Avenue are reasonably priced for my budget.

Fitness enthusiasts can enjoy up to $300 annually, divided into $25 monthly credits, for Equinox memberships or the Equinox+ app. Enrollment required. This is another credit I don’t make much use of, but I can see how it can be quite beneficial for someone who has an Equinox fitness club nearby.

Extensive travel protections

You can travel with peace of mind knowing you're covered by the Amex Platinum's broad suite of travel protections, which includes trip cancellation and interruption insurance1, trip delay insurance2, and secondary car rental loss and damage insurance3.

Fortunately, I haven't had to use Amex travel protections, but knowing I have them makes me feel more secure about my trips. For example, the trip delay insurance can help me if a flight gets delayed overnight by reimbursing me for my hotel stay and meals.

Premium purchase and return protections

The Amex Platinum also has your back on your purchases with benefits like purchase protection4, return protection5, extended warranty6, and cellphone protection7.

These protections can help with various issues you may face with your purchases, electronics, and more. For example, the purchase protection might come in handy if you buy a pair of expensive sunglasses that get stolen – Amex could reimburse you for the full purchase price.

Drawbacks: Why you may want a different card

The hefty annual charge

The $695 annual fee of the Amex Platinum is one of the highest among travel cards. While you receive various credits and perks that can outweigh this cost, it may still be a large amount that is due upfront after you qualify for the card and upon renewal every year.

If you’re unsure about whether you’ll use enough benefits on the card to justify this fee, you could consider opting for a lower-annual-fee card — like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. It has a great set of travel perks and a more manageable annual fee of $395.

Adding extra cardholders can be expensive

If you want to pass on your Amex Platinum benefits to your family or friends, you would need to pay $175 for each additional cardholder every year. This means that if you want to include three authorized users, you will pay an additional $525 annually on top of the primary cardholder’s $695 annual fee.

Even though additional cardholders receive some perks, such as their own access to lounges and hotel elite status, they don’t receive their own airline fee credit or Uber Cash. That’s why I didn’t add any authorized users to my card, especially considering that other premium travel cards, like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, allow adding up to four authorized users for free.

Some credits aren’t simple to use

The Amex Platinum comes with many credits to earn. So many, that the card is referred to as the Amex coupon book within card rewards enthusiast circles. However, some credits aren’t so easy to use and may need more deliberation and attention to fully take advantage of them.

For example, I never made much use of the Equinox credit, which amounts to up to $300 a year. I also didn’t take advantage of the Saks credit, which offers up to $100 annually. Neither of these credits is for services or places I typically use or shop at.

The monthly $15 Uber Cash is a nice perk that I make sure to use. But it requires remembering to use it every month or forfeit the credit for that month. Essentially, to get the maximum value from the Amex Platinum, you must be organized and proactive in using your credits. If you favor a premium travel card that is plain and simple, albeit with fewer benefits, you should consider the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

Earning & redeeming American Express Membership Rewards

When you spend with your Amex Platinum, you earn Amex Membership Rewards points. If you’re a regular traveler who likes to pay for quality and wants to reap the benefits, you can maximize your earning potential by using your card to book flights and prepaid hotels, since you’ll earn up to 5X points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com.

When it comes to redeeming Membership Rewards, each point is typically worth one cent toward flights booked through American Express, but they could be worth less when redeemed for hotels, gift cards, or merchandise. Because of this, you may want to prioritize redeeming your points for air travel since you could get more value out of your rewards.

Potential earnings in years one and two

Here's a look at how your Membership Rewards points can add up with the Amex Platinum. To calculate this value, we used a point valuation of $0.01.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

  • Year one earnings: $2,025
  • Year two earnings: $1,225

This value is based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model, which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus, and the annual fee.

Best ways to earn

Your best bet when earning points is to do so through American Express Travel or directly with an airline. You can earn the maximum number of points per dollar with prepaid hotels or flights.

Flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel.com 5X
All other eligible purchases 1X

Maximizing your redemptions

To maximize your redemptions, consider using your points to book travel. Each point is worth $0.01 when booking flights through American Express Travel. You can even transfer your points to a participating airline or hotel’s loyalty program. Depending on the exact program you move your points to, you may be able to make them stretch further with this strategy.

Don’t forget, you can also receive a $200 credit for qualifying charges through The Hotel Collection, which requires a minimum two-night stay, when you book via American Express. Plus, if you book at a hotel where you can take advantage of your Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors gold status, you may receive extra perks, like room upgrades and complimentary WiFi.

Amex Platinum transfer partners

If you prefer to book through another loyalty program, American Express has several airline and hotel transfer partners. Most Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, with some exceptions.

Amex airline transfer partner Airline alliance Transfer ratio
Aer Lingus N/A 1:1
AeroMexico SkyTeam 1:1.6
Air Canada Star Alliance 1:1
Air France KLM SkyTeam 1:1
ANA Star Alliance 1:1
Avianca Star Alliance 1:1
British Airways Oneworld Alliance 1:1
Cathay Pacific Oneworld Alliance 1:1
Delta Air Lines SkyTeam 1:1
Emirates N/A 1:1
Etihad Airways N/A 1:1
Hawaiian Airlines N/A 1:1
Iberia Oneworld Alliance 1:1
JetBlue N/A 5:4
Qantas Oneworld Alliance 1:1
Qatar Airways Oneworld Alliance 1:1
Singapore Airlines Star Alliance 1:1
Virgin Atlantic SkyTeam 1:1

If you want to use your Amex Membership Rewards points to pay for a hotel room, you can do that as well. Amex currently partners with three hotel rewards programs.

Amex hotel transfer partner Minimum transfer Transfer ratio
Choice Hotels 1,000 1:1
Hilton Honors 1,000 1:2
Marriott Bonvoy 1,000 1:1

FAQ

Is the Amex Platinum worth it?

For me, the Amex Platinum is worth the annual fee. As a frequent traveler, I get more than $695 in value each year from the card's perks. The lounge access alone is worth hundreds of dollars to me, and the hotel elite status has provided me with several room upgrades. The annual credits, from the airline fee credit to the Uber Cash, align well with my spending habits, so I'm able to utilize most of them. However, some credits aren’t as useful, so not everyone will be able to take full advantage of this card’s benefits.

What are the requirements to qualify for the Amex Platinum?

American Express doesn’t officially state the exact requirements on their website to qualify — except that you need to be 18 years old and a U.S resident — but it’s safe to assume you’ll need good or excellent credit to qualify.

You’ll also want to make sure you can comfortably afford the high annual fee. When filling out the application, include all of your income sources so you can prove to American Express that you’re able to responsibly cover the fees for the card.

What lounges can I use with my Amex Platinum?

After enrollment, you can access the Centurion Lounge with locations including Dallas, Fort Worth, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. Additional lounges include Delta Sky Clubs, Escape Lounges, International American Express Lounges, and Priority Pass Select lounges.

How do the Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy gold statuses work?

Once you’re an Amex Platinum cardholder, you can request enrollment with Marriott Bonvoy and the Hilton Honors program. You can maintain your gold status as long as you’re still an American Express cardmember unless terms and conditions change.

The Hilton Honors program provides its gold members with perks such as complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, late checkout, and the ability to earn elite-tiered bonus points. The Marriott Bonvoy gold status also gives you benefits such as late checkout, free room upgrades, and bonus points earned with every stay.

Alternatives that might be better for you

If The Platinum Card® from American Express's high annual fee or specific benefits don't quite fit your needs, consider the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card as a premium travel card with a lower annual fee or Chase Sapphire Reserve® as another premium travel card with a different set of benefits.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card burst onto the premium travel card scene in 2021 and is one of my favorite alternatives to the Amex Platinum. It has a lower annual fee of $395 and offers some unique perks:

  • Up to $300 annual travel statement credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel
  • 10,000 bonus miles every account anniversary
  • Complimentary Priority Pass, Plaza Premium, and Capital One Lounge access
  • Up to four authorized users at no extra cost
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit every four years

I have the Capital One Venture X and find its benefits way more simple to use than the Amex Platinum. The ability to add authorized users for free is also a nice perk for families or couples who travel together.

However, I prefer the Amex Platinum for its wider array of luxury benefits, like the Centurion Lounge access and hotel elite status. But if you're looking for a premium travel card with a lower annual fee and don't mind booking through the Capital One portal, the Venture X is definitely worth considering.

Learn more in our Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card review.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is another premium travel credit card that competes against the Amex Platinum with a slightly lower annual fee of $550 and a different set of travel benefits:

  • $300 annual travel credit that applies to a wide range of travel purchases
  • Priority Pass Select lounge access
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS every four years
  • Comprehensive travel protections, including primary car rental insurance and trip delay coverage

If you can't maximize the Amex Platinum's numerous credits, the Sapphire Reserve could be a better fit, especially if you spend a lot on travel and dining. The Sapphire Reserve's $300 travel credit is also easier to use, as it automatically applies to many travel purchases.

I plan to apply for the Sapphire Reserve next year as I believe it would better align with my spending habits. However, I know I’ll miss the Amex Platinum's Centurion Lounge access and hotel elite status.

Learn more in our Chase Sapphire Reserve® review.

Luxury Travel Benefits

5.0

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Current Offer

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new card in the first 6 months

Annual Fee

$695

Rewards Rate

5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Yahia Barakah, CEPF

Yahia Barakah, CEPF, is a Senior Editor at FinanceBuzz and has created finance-focused content since 2011. As a Certified Educator of Personal Finance, he has a background in institutional investment and asset management, as well as a deep passion for financial literacy.